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Ballet Reviews

Review – Coppelia, Singapore Dance Theatre

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[Reviewed on 18 March 2017. This article was originally written for and published on the Straits Times (print edition).] Coppelia is a fluffy confection of a ballet, a light-hearted piece that combines comedy and pantomime with classical dance. It tells the story of two young lovers, Swanilda and Franz. Their road to the altar is threatened by Franz’s affection for a mysterious girl in the balcony – Coppélia – who turns out to be a doll. Hijinks and mayhem ensue.…

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Ballet C&V Ladies Interviews

Interview – Elinor Jagodnik, Stattsballett Berlin

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The ballet world rippled with intrigue when it was announced that Staatsballett Berlin’s artistic director, Nacho Duato, would be replaced in 2019 by a duo of Johannes Öhman (current director of the Royal Swedish Ballet) and Sasha Waltz (who heads her own company, Sasha Waltz & Guests). A co-directorship raised eyebrows, but it was the appointment of Waltz, a decidedly avant-garde choreographer whose expertise lay in dance-theater around whom controversy swirled. It was nothing short of a bold move to appoint an…

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Ballet Reviews

Review – The Nutcracker, Singapore Dance Theatre

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[Reviewed on 7 December, 2016. This article was originally written for and published on the Straits Times (print and web edition).] The Nutcracker has been considered one of ballet’s most beloved yet most controversial pieces. Russian audiences in the 1800s might have found it acceptable, but in a globalised, culturally aware age, its Eurocentric fetishisation of Eastern cultures has raised eyebrows. Some artistic directors have tried to argue that the ballet’s play on stereotypes is “traditional”, not “racist”. But in…

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Ballet Interviews

Interview – Ashley Ellis

Ashley Ellis, Boston Ballet principal

There’s a lot that separates Boston Ballet’s Ashley Ellis and I. A couple of oceans, for one thing. And there’s the small fact that she’s a principal dancer in a top ballet company, talented and graceful and whipping out complex choreography with elegance and ease, while I can barely remember the adage combinations as I fumble through my weekly ballet classes. When I spoke to Ashley, we talked first about the rigorous life of a ballet dancer. I am aware…

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Ballet C&V Ladies Interviews

Interview – Laurretta Summerscales

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Laurretta Summerscales sits next to me on a snug loveseat in her dressing room, curled up under a pink shawl. The English National Ballet principal has just completed the second show in a series of gala performances in Singapore. Performing five shows in 3 days while dealing with jetlag left most of the performers fairly tuckered out by the end, but even though she had just stepped off the stage 15 minutes ago, Laurretta still sparked with energy, a warm…

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Ballet C&V Ladies Interviews

Interview – Ashley Bouder

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The instagram video of Ashley Bouder performing multiple pirouettes while 6 months pregnant may seem extraordinary to us mortals, but it’s par for the course for her. Ashley is known for her quick-footed and explosive dancing ability, and sometimes her falls –  affectionately known as the ‘Bouder falls’ – because it’s impossible to defy gravity so spectacularly without taking a tumble once in a while. Her high-octane onstage persona is just as much a reflection of what she’s like offstage:…

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Ballet C&V Ladies Interviews

Interview – Gillian Murphy

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Gillian Murphy is an icon of American ballet. A principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater for more than a dozen years, she and her then-boyfriend (now husband) Ethan Stiefel were considered ballet’s golden couple when they danced together and Gillian is, in her own right, supremely accomplished – a slew of accolades are a testament to this, as are the glowing reviews for her various performances. Her potrayal of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake is considered particularly special, so much so…

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Ballet C&V Ladies Photo Sessions

C&V Photo Sessions: Miko Fogarty

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In August this year I had the chance to catch up with my friend, Birmingham Ballet artist Miko Fogarty. She told me she would be in Taiwan and would be game for a shoot and lunch, so a furious few days were spent mulling over a concept and cobbling together moodboards, styling looks and conversing with a photographer – the always reliable Puzzleman Leung, who was happily free on the day – and the next thing I knew, I was…

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